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Full text of "The rise and progress of whisky-drinking in Scotland, and the working of the 'Public-houses (Scotland) Act', commonly called the Forbes M'Kenzie Act"

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M f ^aren, Duncan 

The rise and progress of 
vhi sky-drink ing in Scotland. 










s. \- so 





Just Published, price One Shilling, post free, 

mESTIMONIES AND STATISTICS in reference to the Working 
1 of the Public-Houses (Scotland) Act. 

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IN SCOTLAND from the Directors of the Scottish Temperance 

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TETTER to the Right Honourable SPENCER HORATIO 
JU WALPOLE, Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Home 
Department, by the Directors of the Scottish Temperance League. 
Being a Reply to the Statements made by the Deputation of 
Glasgow Publicans who waited on Sir George Grey and the Lord 








THE Act usually known in Scotland as the Forbes M'Kenzie 
Act, 16 and 17 Victoria, cap. 67, came into operation May 21st, 
1854. The bill, about which so much has been said, as bearing 
on the cause of sobriety and good order in Scotland, was intro- 
duced into the House of Commons by the gentleman whose 
name it bears ; but having vacated his seat before the measure 
had made much progress, it was watched over, and carried 
through, mainly by Mr Gumming Bruce. In the House of 
Lords it was under the charge of Lord Kinnaird, and, as I 
once stated at a public meeting in Edinburgh, his lordship 
also did a great deal privately, by his personal exertions, to 
promote its passing through the House of Commons; and he 
may thus be said to have been the chief author of the Act. Its 
short title is ' Public-Houses (Scotland) Act.' 

I need not state to the people of Scotland that the leading 
provisions of the Act are two in number (1,) That there shall 
be no selling of intoxicating drinks on Sundays, except to bona 
fide travellers, arid (2,) That there shall be no selling of such 
drinks during any day of the week after eleven o'clock at night. 
These two provisions are so manifestly just in themselves, and 
so conducive to the welfare of society, that I am happy to say 
they have commended themselves to the great body of the people 
of this country. 

There is, however, an active and influential section of the com- 
munity who have always been opposed to these provisions, and 
who have been using all the means in their power to get the Act 
modified or repealed ; and they have endeavoured to procure the 
appointment of a Parliamentary Committee to inquire into the 
working of the Act, with a view to accomplish their object in this 
indirect way. The ostensible movers in this cause are a commit- 
tee of Glasgow publicans and spirit dealers, but they are privately 
receiving the sympathy and support of influential distillers, and 
other persons who do not publicly come forward to advocate 
their cause. They are also supported in their efforts by a portion 
of the public press, and by a small number of Scotch members 
of Parliament. 

4 Progress of Whisky- Drinking in Scotland. 

Being always more anxious to know what opponents have to 
say against any cause of which I have formed a decidedly favour- 
able opinion, than to know what friends say in its favour, I have 
read and heard much against the < Public-Houses Act;' and if I 
understand the objections of its opponents aright, they may be 
classed under these heads : 

They say that, both as regards the requirements for shutting 
up public-houses during the entire Sunday (as compared with 
the former law, which required them to be shut only during the 
hours of divine service), and as regards restricting the business 
hours on week-days to 11 o'clock at night, they are novelties 
in the legislation of Scotland, of a Puritanical character, and in- 
terfering with the liberty of the subject ; that they are unjust to 
the persons engaged in the spirit trade ; that they have proved 
injurious in their operation as regards all classes ; and in parti- 
cular, that in place of diminishing drunkenness, they have in- 
creased it causing an enormous increase in the consumption 
of whisky, amounting to nearly two millions of gallons annually. 
These allegations have often been made, and those last mentioned 
were embodied in an official memorial recently prepared by the 
Glasgow Committee, and presented by them to Sir George Grey, 
the Home Secretary, with a view to induce him, on the part of 
the late Government, to appoint a Parliamentary Committee of 


In answer to these allegations it may be stated, that, as regards 
the non-trading on Sunday, this principle has been the law of 
Scotland for several centuries, except during the twenty-six years 
from 1828 to 1854. In the first-mentioned year, the Act known as 
the Home Drummond Act altered the Sabbath law of Scotland, by 
the insertion of certain words in the schedule appended to the Act, 
which were not intended to have that operation, as I shall 
afterwards prove. Now, if these facts be as I have stated, it 
follows that the i Public-Houses Act,' in place of establishing 
any novelty in legislation, only restored the law of Scotland to 
what it had been from time immemorial, until it was accidentally 
altered by the passing of the Act of 1828. 

To prove my case, I shall have to refer to the ancient legisla- 
tion of Scotland respecting the observance of the Sabbath. I 
could easily cite numerous Acts of the Parliament of Scotland on 
the subject, but will only trouble you with two or three. One of 
them is the Act of James YI. (1594), and is a fair specimen of 
the series, exhibiting the broad and distinct grounds on which the 
Scotch Acts usually proceeded not singling out publicans or any 

Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 5 

one class as special objects of legislation, but laying down broad 
general principles, briefly expressed, and so comprehensive in 
their terms as to include all classes of traffickers, and prohibiting 
Sunday trading of every kind. After ratifying all former statutes 
prohibiting the profanation of the Sabbath, the Act proceeds 
thus: 'That quhasoever prophanes the Sabbath-day by selling, 
or presenting and offering to be sold upon the said day, ony guddes 
or geare, or quhatsumever merchandise, by themselves or any 
other in their name, and he is three several times lawfully con- 
victed thereof, either before the Provost and Bailies within burgh 
where the profanation shall happen to be committed, or before 
certain Commissioners and Justices in every Presbytery to be 
appointed by the King's Majesty, with advice of his Privy Council 
their hail guddes and gear shall be escheated to his Majesty's 
use, and their persons punished at the will of his Majesty with 
advice of his Secret Council.' 

Another Act was passed in the second year of Charles the 
Second (1661), for the purpose of dealing with the then abound- 
ing vice of drunkenness, which is deserving of notice, as showing 
the prevalence of open drunkenness to a much greater extent 
than at present amongst the higher and middle classes; and also 
an account of the stringent manner in which drunkards of all 
classes are punishable under its provisions : * Our Sovereign 
Lord being desirous that all his subjects within this Kingdom 
may live a quiet and peaceable life under his government, in all 
godliness and honesty, and in order thereto, having resolved to 
curb and suppress all sort of sin and wickedness, and especially 
these abominable, and so much abounding sins of drunkenness, and 
all manner of cursing and swearing Declares that each person 
who shall blaspheme, swear, or curse, and whosoever shall drink 
into excess, shall be liable in the pains following, according to the 
quality of the offenders,' (the fines are here stated in our present 
money,) 'each nobleman, 1 13s 4d ; each baron, 1 2s 2d ; 
each gentleman, heritor, or burgess, lls Id; each yeoman, 3s 4d; 
each servant, Is 8d ; and each minister in the fifth part of his 
year's stipend.' 

There are many older Scotch Acts than these on the same 
subject, and many later, down to the period of the Union, 
which all affirm the same broad, general principle, that no 
man, be he who he may, in any walk of life, shall buy or sell, 
sow or reap, or fish, or carry on any business for gain on the 
Sabbath-day. None of these Acts single out the publican's trade 
as one requiring to be specially dealt with, either in a harsher or 
more favoured manner than other trades. The Acts, in effect, 
just intimate to every man in plain and distinct terms, l Thou 
shalt not carry on thy business on the Sabbath-day ;' and some 

6 Progress of Whisky- Drinking in Scotland. 

of them specially require the ministers of each parish and their 
kirk-sessions to" see the Sabbath law duly enforced. The 
ministers and kirk-sessions are, in effect, appointed by Act 
of Parliament the public prosecutors within their several parishes, 
so far as regards the enforcement of the Sabbath law. 

About the end of last century considerable laxity prevailed in 
many places regarding the opening of shops and public-houses 
on Sundays. The church courts took the subject into their 
serious consideration, and applied for advice to one of the most 
distinguished lawyers that ever adorned the Scottish bar or 
bench, Lord President Blair, then at the bar, who gave a 
clear and decided opinion to the effect stated, in 1794. During 
that year, as I shall afterwards show, an enormous increase in the 
number of public-houses took place, in consequence of the passing 
of an Act authorising licenses to be granted at a very low 
rate for the sale of whisky alone, and this increase probably 
stimulated the zeal of the church courts. The opinion is as 
follows : 

6 The statutes now in force, with respect to the observance of the 
Sabbath day, appear to me to be sufficient for checking the evil 
complained of. The statutes which I mean are the following : 
Act 1661, c. 18; 1672, c. 22; 1693, c. 40; 1695, c. 13;' and 
Act 1701, c. 11. 

( By these statutes, every person guilty of profaning the Sabbath- 
day in any manner whatever, is made liable in a pecuniary 
penalty, toties quoties, to be recovered by prosecution before 
Sheriffs, Justices of the Peace, or any other Judge Ordinary ; 
and the minister of every parish, the kirk-session, or the presby- 
tery, or a person named by them, is entitled to prosecute. 

6 There appears, therefore, to be no defect in the law as it stands, 
if duly executed ; and the power of enforcing execution is lodged 
with the Church Judicatories themselves. Perhaps it might be 
proper to cause print the above statutes, and transmit copies 
thereof to the different presbyteries, so that due notification may 
be given to all concerned.' 

(Signed) ROBERT BLAIR.' 

1 EDINBURGH, 24th May, 1794.' 

The law at the present day remains as described by the Lord 
President Blair (the Sabbath clause of the Home Drummond 
Act, of which I shall afterwards speak, being now repealed), arid, 
therefore, there can be no difficulty in enforcing the law against 
all Sunday traders, if the parties on whom the Legislature have 
imposed the responsibility the ministers and kirk- sessions 
perform their statutory duties ; and it is important to notice that 
they are entitled to receive the penalties. I observed in the 

Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 1 

newspapers last week that, at a meeting of the Presbytery of 
Edinburgh, one of the ministers of the city, the Rev. Dr Nisbet, 
very properly complained of the number of shops which were open 
in his parish on Sundays ; and on his motion, the Presbytery 
agreed to adopt the following memorial to the Magistrates and 
Town Council, which I copy from the Edinburgh Advertiser 
of the 2d April : 

c That your memorialists, being this day duly convened, and 
having had their attention called to the large and increasing 
number of shops kept open in many parts of the city on the 
Lord's-day, in the prosecution of their usual traffic, cannot but 
regard this circumstance with regret and alarm, as tending to 
debase the character, and destroy the best interests of the com- 
munity, involving, as it does, a systematic violation of the law 
of God, and tending to foster in old and young those habits of 
irreligion which provoke His judgment. 

6 The Presbytery, in directing your attention to this subject, 
venture most respectfully to express their hope, that it may 
receive from your honourable body the consideration which its 
deep importance deserves, and lead to the adoption of such 
measures as the laws of the country may have placed at your 
disposal for securing that decent and general observance of the 
Lord's-day for which our country has hitherto been distinguished, 
and to which, your memorialists believe, it has been pre-eminently 
indebted for any virtue or prosperity which has blessed it.' 

Now, it is quite plain, from the opinion of Lord President 
Blair, that the reverend doctor here exemplified the fable of the 
man who prayed to Jupiter to help his cart-wheel oat of the rut, 
in place of applying his own shoulder to the work, and that he is 
himself to blame for the continued existence of the Sabbath 
desecration which he so properly laments. Should the President's 
opinion ever meet the eye of the reverend doctor, I hope he will 
remember that ' to him who knoweth to do good and doeth it 
not, to him it is sin.' Pie will then be in the position of not only 
knowing to do good, in the moral and religious sense of the 
admonition, but he will have learned, what it is evident he does not 
now know, that to the authority of the Divine law has been 
superaddecl the imperative requirements of the law of the land, 
by virtue of which he holds the honourable position of one of the 
ministers of this city, with all the advantages and responsibilities 
which it has pleased the Legislature to attach, as the conditions 
on which the office is held. An important position like his 
* has its duties as well as its rights ;' and there can be no better 
reason for asking, as he has done, the Magistrates and Council 
to relieve him of certain unpleasant duties which Parliament 
has imposed upon him, than there could be for the Magis- 

8 Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 

trates asking to be lelieved of certain unpleasant duties which 
Parliament has imposed upon them, for the collection of his 

Keturning from this digression, the Sabbath law remained 
unaltered till 1828, when the Home Drummond Act was 
passed, (9th Geo. IV., cap. 58). That Act regulates the mode of 
granting licenses to public-houses, imposes certain restrictions 
on them, and enacts larger penalties for the infraction of the 
statutory rules than were imposed by the ancient Acts. The 
form of certificate (schedule B), amongst other prohibitions, 
contains the following l And do not keep open house, or per- 
mit or suffer any drinking or tippling on any part of the 
premises, thereto belonging, during the hours of Divine service on 
Sundays, or other days set aside for public worship by lawful 
authority.' These words were intended by Mr Home Drum- 
mond only to add another special prohibition to the restrictions 
formerly existing, and to enforce this new prohibition in the 
manner and subject to the higher pains and penalties which were 
enacted in the new Statute. This fact can easily be proved from 
the evidence given before a Select Committee of the House of 
Commons in 1832 by the late Principal Macfarlan of Glasgow, 
so long an ornament to, and the father of the Church of 
Scotland. In referring to the Act, the Principal is asked 

i You do not consider that the practice of keeping open public- 
houses on the Sabbath is sanctioned by the Act itself, to which 
you have referred ? Certainly not. 

6 The fact of its being lawful to keep open public-houses at any 
time, excepting the hours of Divine worship, is merely inferred 
from the certificate to which you have alluded ? Entirely so ; 
and if the Committee will permit me to read another short 
extract from Mr Home Drummond's own letter, they will see 
this to be his opinion " All that the last Act does, is to declare 
that it shall be a breach of the certificate to permit tippling on 
Sundays during Divine service, &c., as therein set forth. It 
does not, in my opinion, affect any other legal consequence of 
Sabbath-breaking, or make it lawful to do anything on Sunday 
which was previously unlawful.'" 

The venerable Principal was, however, mistaken in his view of 
the law, as was proved by the decision of the Supreme Court. 
In the same year in which he gave his evidence the Magistrates 
of Edinburgh had a case tried by an amicable Bill of Suspension, 
raised at the instance of a spirit dealer, of the name of Macneil, 
when four of the Judges of the Court of Justiciary decided to 
suspend the sentence of the Magistrates, on the ground that the 
words quoted gave the suspender liberty to keep his house open 
at all hours on Sunday, except during Divine service. One 

Progress of Whisky -Drinking in Scotland. 9 

distinguished judge, Lord Moncrieff, held that the general law of 
Scotland could not be set aside in this incidental way, and thought 
the judgment of the Magistrates should be affirmed. The 
question was thus authoritatively determined, and thereafter 
Sabbath desecration went on with increased vigour. 

This Act introduced into Scotland what had never before been 
recognized as part of the Sabbath law, a difference between what 
were called church hours and other hours. This fact was stated 
by my venerable friend, Principal Lee, whose authority on such a 
question no man will venture to dispute, in his evidence before 
the Committee of the House of Commons, to which I have 
already referred. The Principal was asked 

6 Was not Mr Home Drummond's Act, at the period when it 
was introduced, considered a novelty, inasmuch as it recognized 
what are called in England church hours ? Certainly it was ; I 
believe, indeed I have been assured by Mr Drummond that it 
was not so intended by him, nor ought it to be interpreted, so as 
to legalize the keeping open of taverns on the Sabbath ; but, 
practically, the effect of it has been to induce Magistrates and 
Justices of the Peace to act as if the law now authorized the 
keeping open of taverns and other places of entertainment during 
the greater part of the Sabbath.' 

On the same subject Principal Macfarlan said 
1 It forms no part of the law of Scotland, and no part of the 
ecclesiastical enactment of the Church of Scotland, to contem- 
plate the Lord's-day as being confined to the hours of Divine 
service ; all the enactments proceed on the principle of the entire 
Sabbath of twenty-four hours being held as a season of rest. To 
this I ascribe much ; because if we confine it to any given period, 
then the period, being determined by human authority, is 
limited by individuals at their own pleasure. I ascribe ranch to 
it from our experience of a single enactment proceeding on a 
different principle. By an Act in 1828, the description of our 
Sabbath is given as if confined to the hours of Divine service, 
and it has done great mischief.' 

The objectionable portion of this Act, allowing public-houses to 
be opened at certain hours on Sunday, having been repealed by 
the ' Public-Houses Act,' we have now got rid of all questions 
respecting canonical hours, and stand not on any law involving 
novel principles of legislation, but on the ancient Sabbath law of 
Scotland, by which the whole Sabbath was required to be observed, 
to the extent, at least, of every man abstaining from carrying on 
his ordinary business for gain on that day. There is, therefore, 
now no difference between the publicans as a class and any other 
class of traders, as regards the principle of prohibition. The butcher 
and baker, the grocer and confectioner, the hatter, and clothier, 

10 Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 

and shoemaker, are now placed, as they always were in the legis- 
lation of Scotland, (except from 1828 tj 1854,) on the same 
footing as the spirit dealer and publican. 

There is, however, a difference in the mode in which offenders 
of the different classes must be tried and punished under the 
several Acts of Parliament. The spirit dealers must be tried and 
punished under the Public-Houses Act. The complainer may 
be either the Procurator-Fiscal or any other person. All other 
classes of traders must be tried under the old Scotch Acts, and, as 
already stated, the ministers and kirk-sessions are specially enjoined 
to be the public prosecutors. Under these Acts the penalties are 
smaller than under the modern Act, but the evils resulting from 
the sale of food, clothing, and other necessaries of life on the 
Sabbath-day, are, in my opinion, also smaller than the evils 
resulting from the sale of intoxicating drinks. If a distinction 
were to be made betwixt different classes of traders carrying on 
their business on the Sabbath, I think that less evil would arise 
from permitting the opening of shops of all other kinds, provided 
spirit-shops were shut, than by permitting the opening of spirit- 
shops and keeping all others shut ; but I am opposed to any 
change whatever on the existing law. I have no sympathy with 
the cry of hardship raised by a small section of persons engaged 
in the spirit trade for I believe four-fifths of those holding spirit- 
licenses approve of Sunday closing on the ground that Parliament 
has now deprived them of the protection from punishment fordoing 
evil, which they enjoyed from 1828 to 1854, but which was en- 
joyed by no other class of traders. The days of protected interests 
of all kinds are now happily ended, and there does not appear to 
be any reason for exempting the spirit trade from, the general 
rule, which prohibits Sunday trading in Scotland. 


We are frequently taunted by our opponents with the allega- 
tion that the Act must necessarily be a failure, because it is im- 
possible to make men religious by Act of Parliament ; and they 
appear to think this argument, if such it may be called, quite 
unanswerable. The friends of the ' Public-Houses Act/ so far 
as I know, have never held, or expressed the opinion that Acts of 
Parliament can make men religious; and, therefore, while we 
are quite ready to assent to this negative proposition, we deny 
that it proves any thing against either the principle or the operation 
of the Act. We are asked by our opponents whether we can 
point to legislation of any kind in which penalties imposed have 
ever been effective in enforcing moral or religious duties. I will 
answer the question as the late Bishop of London (Bloomfield) 

Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 11 

did when examined by a hostile member of the Parliamentary 
Committee of 1832, to which reference has already been made. 
The member, no doubt, expected to extinguish the Bishop with 
this question ' Is your Lordship aware of any instance in which 
an enactment of penalties has ever been effective in enforcing 
moral or religious duties ? ' 

6 1 think not ; but I take this view of the subject : I am per- 
suaded you will do no gcod by punishing people for not going to 
church ; but I. think you will do a great deal of good by prevent- 
ing persons from spreading out those temptations ivhich prevent the 
people from going to church. I think that the positive enforce- 
ment of religious duties by penalties is a mistake ; it is a mistake 
in the principles of legislation ; but I think you ought, if you 
look on religion as the basis of all sound principles and social 
order, to prevent and take out of the way as much as you can those 
temptations which must check the growth of religion and encourage 
the growth of irreligion? 

An attempt was also made in the committee to demolish Prin- 
cipal Macfarlan by a question of the same import, but he 
appears to have demolished his questioner by an answer of 
which I cordially approve. The member asked 6 Suppos- 
ing that new and stricter acts of legislation on the ob- 
servance of the Sabbath were passed, might it not be deemed 
a legislating for religion, and thereby riot carry the public opinion 
with it, to the same extent that it might do, were it considered 
merely a mec'ins of preserving the public tranquillity ? 

' In the evidence I have given, and the opinions which I may 
have taken the liberty of offering, I proceed, not on religious 
grounds , but simply, and altogether, on general grounds of morality 
and good order. It would not be desired, it would riot be at all 
wished for, by either the friends of religion or of public order in 
Scotland, that any legislative enactment should go to enforce any 
attendance on religious ordinances. The simple grounds on 
which we would place our desire that legal enactments should 
be rendered more strict, are first, that by the legal enactments, 
all ivho ivill may rightly observe the Lord"s-day ; it is altogether 
impossible, without legal enactments, for this to be secured to all, 
dependent as one part of society are on another.' 

Principal Lee also met the objection in his usual clear, logical, 
and beautiful language, thus: 

'The young in the neighbourhood are injured by seeing the 
Lord's-day habitually treated with disrespect ; much disorder is 
also occasioned in the neighbourhood by the rioting which takes 
place. . . . These guilty excesses take place chiefly on that 
day which was mercifully appointed for the rest, refreshment, 
and improvement of rational beings ; and they are committed 

12 Progress of Whisky- Drinking in Scotland. 

under the notice of those young and tender souls, who, at the 
very moment when their parents should be training them for 
immortality, are heartlessly kept back from the comforts of this 
life and the hopes of the next living without God in the world, 
whose worship they never see celebrated, and whose name they 
scarcely ever hear, except in profane execrations and blasphe- 
mous oaths. These are some of the concomitants, or consequences 
of keeping shops open on the Sabbath ; the practice is manifestly 
injurious to the community in another point of view, as it leads 
to many outrages, which add greatly to the burden of keeping 
up a police establishment, as well as to the expenses connected 
with the administration of the criminal law. ... I cannot 
help saying, that one of the cheapest and surest modes of estab- 
lishing a preventive police, would be to shut the doors of those 
mischievous haunts, which are so great a nuisance to all the 
pious and orderly inhabitants, and which, along with innumer- 
able other evils, occasion an enormous expense to the community.' 
To all grumblers about the alleged hardship which the publi- 
cans suffer by not being allowed to carry on their usual trade on 
the Sabbath, and about the hardship involved to their customers 
who desire to be accommodated on that day, I would appeal by 
quoting an additional sentence following the extract just read 
from the evidence of Principal Lee : ' It is very hard, and 
surely not very equitable, that the virtuous should be taxed to a 
great amount, that the vicious might not be restrained from the 
liberty of sinning.' So much for what may be called the religious 
liberty aspect of the question, which I think has been greatly 
misunderstood by some, and greatly misrepresented by others. 


I will now notice the complaints of our opponents respecting 
the enforced shutting of public-houses at eleven o'clock at night. 
They represent this enactment as being something quite new in 
the legislation of this country, besides being a great grievance in 
itself. No greater mistake could be made than to represent 
fixed hours for the closing of public-houses as a novelty in the 
legislation of Scotland. It has been the policy of the Parliament 
of Scotland, from the earliest times, to endeavour to mitigate the 
evils arising from public-houses, by providing for their being 
closed at reasonable hours at night. The earliest Acts of the Par- 
liament of Scotland now in existence were passed in 1424 ; and 
within five years of that period there was an Act passed for regu- 
lating the hours of closing public-houses in these terms (1429) : 
'It is ordained that na man in burgh be found in taverns of 
wine, ail, or beir, after the straike of nine houres, and the bell 

Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. lo 

sail be rung in, in the said burgh. The whilk is founden (offend- 
ing), the Aldermen and Baillies sail put them in the King's 
Prison. The whilk if they do not, they (the Aldermen and 
Bailies) sail pay for ilk time, that they be found culpable before 
the Chamberlain, fifty shillings.' 

This Act, in effect, compels the closing of all public-houses 
two hours earlier than is done by the i Public-Houses Act;' 
and its provisions for enforcing the rule are certainly much more 
stringent than the provisions for enforcing that Act. I am not 
a great admirer of what is usually meant by ' the wisdom of our 
ancestors,' but I am not sure that we might not copy, with advan- 
tage, the spirit of this ancient statute, by enacting that all Bailies, 
Sheriffs, Justices of the Peace, and Procurators Fiscal, who 
do not enforce the modern Act, within their several juris- 
dictions, should be fined in the ancient penalty of 50s 'ilk time 
that they be found culpable.' And if our opponents insist on 
having the existing Act repealed, for the purpose of going back 
to the old laws, we may fairly ask them how far back they are 
prepared to go, arid may hint that if they will agree to agitate 
for going back to this the oldest of all our restrictive laws, for 
closing ' after the straike of nine houres,' we may perhaps join 
them in their agitation for the repeal of the ' Public-Houses 

It is not easy to realize the condition of Scotland at the time of 
the passing of the Act of 1429. The multitude of important events 
which have been crowded into the intervening period of 429 years, 
and the changes which have taken place in the manners and 
state of the country, cannot easily be conceived. Sometimes we 
form a more vivid and correct idea of the state of a country by a 
single incident in its history than from a laboured description. 
With this feeling I have copied out an Act which was passed 
only two years before this ' nine houres Act,' and which I 
shall quote, because it so strikingly indicates to my mind 
the great difference which exists between the present condition 
of Scotland and the state of matters which existed at the passing 
of these Acts. It appears that Scotland was then so overrun 
with wolves as to require the passing of a special Act of Parlia- 
ment, ordaining all the Barons and their retainers to turn out, at 
least four times a year, to destroy ferocious animals of which the 
race has been totally extinct in Scotland for several centuries ; 
and the penalties for non-compliance were required to be paid, 
not in money, but in sheep. The Act runs thus (1427) 

< It is statute and ordained by the king, with consent of his 
hail counsel, that ilk baron within his barony, in gangand time 
of the year, chase and seek the whelps of the woolfes, and gar 
slay them ; and the baron sail give to the man that slays the 

14 Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 

woolfe in his barony, and brings the head, twa shillings. And 
when the barons ordain to hunt and chase the woolfe, the tenants 
sail rise with the baron, under pain of ane wedder from ilk man 
not rising with the baron. And that the barons hunt in their 
baronies, and chase four times in the year, and as oft as ony 
woolfe beis seen within the barony.' 


The 'nine houres' closing law appears to have remained un- 
changed for nearly two centuries. In 1617, it was changed for 
one establishing ' ten hours at night,' as the time after which 
persons found in public-houses were to be punished ; and thus it, 
in effect, repealed the previous statute. The terms in which it 
refers to the vice of drunkenness are specially deserving of 
notice. The Act is as follows : < For the restraint of the vile 
and detestable vice of drunkenness, daily increasing, to the high 
dishonour of God, and great harm of the whole realme, That all 
persons lawfully convicted of drunkenness, or of haunting of 
taverns and ale-houses, after ten hours at nighty or any time of 
the day except in time of travel, or for ordinary refreshments, 
shall, for the first fault, pay three pounds, or, in case of inability 
or refusal, to be put in the jagges or jayle for the space of six 
hours; for the second fault to pay five pounds, or to be kept in 
stocks or jayle for the space of twelve hours ; and for the third 
fault to pay ten pounds, or to be kept in the stocks or jayle twenty- 
four hours, and thereafter to be committed to jayle till they find 
caution for their good behaviour in time coming.' It likewise 
enacts that all ordinary judges and kirk-sessions shall have power 
to try offenders and to convict them. 

It will be observed that both of these Acts are framed on a 
different principle from our modern Acts. The ancient Acts punish 
the men found drinking in the public-houses after the restricted 
hours, but they do not punish the publicans who furnished the 
drink. Our modern Acts, on the other hand, punish the publi- 
cans who furnish the drink, but do not punish the men who have 
consumed it after the restricted hours. Here, again, a hint 
might be taken with advantage from ' the wisdom of our ances- 
tors ;' and perhaps a union of the two principles might, in prac- 
tice, be found the best solution of the difficulty, by dividing 
the punishment, whether of a personal or pecuniary kind, equally 
between the consumers and vendors. 

We have heard a great deal of late about the alleged Puritan- 
ical and Pharisaical spirit which dictated the passing of the 
' Public-Houses Act,' and which, it is said, established a new prin- 
ciple in legislation ; but both of the restrictive acts which I have 

Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 15 

quoted, in effect affirm the same principle as the modern Act, and 
the first of them was passed when the Roman Catholic religion 
was established in Scotland, and the second in the full blaze ot 
the Reformation, before the advent to power of the Puritans as 
a party in England. I do not say this to throw any discredit on 
the Puritans, 'for I revere their memory, and wish we had more 
of the spirit of their ministers in our pulpits, and more of the in- 
dependent spirit of their Cromwells amongst our ministers ot 
State and members of both Houses of Parliament. 

The ' ten hours at night' Act was never repealed until the 
passing of the < Public-Houses Act,' establishing i eleven hours 
at night' as the rule ; but it appears to have been overlooked by 
the administrators of the law, and to have remained for a long 
period almost a dead letter. Our opponents might be quietly 
asked whether, in seeking the repeal of the eleven o'clock hour, 
they desire to revive the provisions of this Act ? 


As an Edinburgh question, no novelty can be alleged in the 
eleven o'clock hour, and there can be no hardship, because 
the inhabitants of this city were so anxious to obtain such a re- 
striction, that, without waiting for a general Act, they, in 1848, 
obtained a local enactment for themselves, as follows : ( If any 
person licensed, as aforesaid, shall suffer drinking or tippling 
within the premises occupied by him, or sell ale, beer, or excise- 
able liquors on any day after eleven o'clock at night., or before six 
o'clock in the morning, [here follow the words respecting closing 
at certain hours during Sunday,] such person, on being convicted 
thereof before the judge, shall for each offence be liable to a penalty, 
not exceeding five pounds, and may, besides, in the case of a second 
or other subsequent conviction, be deprived of his license, provided 
always that nothing contained in this enactment shall apply to 
railway refreshment-rooms, licensed and open for the accommo- 
dation of passengers only.' This Act worked admirably in Edin- 
burgh, and although it was interpreted as I think erroneously 
to favour large hotels and taverns keeping open after the 
specified hour, I have no doubt that the known benefits derived 
from this Act in Edinburgh suggested the propriety of obtaining 
for other towns the advantage of the same wholesome provision, 
by the passing of the c Public-Houses Act.' 


Having thus given an historical sketch of the state of the law 
as respects the observance of the Sabbath in Scotland which, 

1 6 Progress of Whisky- Drinking in Scotland. 

like all other laws, human and Divine, was frequently violated 
and also of the law for restraining publicans from keeping open at 
late hours, I shall now proceed to notice the rise and progress of 
the public-house system, and the kind and quantity of intoxi- 
cating drinks consumed in Scotland, at various periods of its 
history. In the first year in which any Scotch Acts which have 
been preserved were passed (1424), there was one passed which 
may be considered the germ of the public-house system, and of 
all subsequent public-house legislation. It is as follows : 'It is 
ordained that in all burgh towns of the realm, and thoroughfares 
where common passages [roads] are, that there be ordained hos- 
tillares and receivers, having stables, and chambers; and that 
men find in them bread and ale and all ither food, as weil to horse 
or men, for reasonable price.' This Act is a model of brevity 
and good sense, as many of our old Scotch Acts are. It 
comes to the point at once. It simply announces the principles 
enacted, and leaves the judge ordinaries to see these principles 
properly carried into effect, within their several jurisdictions. It 
will be observed that, in this Act, * bread and ale' only are 
mentioned, and that nothing is said about whisky or other spiritu- 
ous liquors. The same remark may be made respecting the other 
Acts of a later date whisky is never referred to. ( Taverns for 
ale and wine ' are the words we meet with for whisky or 
6 aqua vitse,' as it was originally called, was not introduced, 
except for medical purposes, until a comparatively recent period. 


Ale was unquestionably the ancient and general beverage of 
Scotland, but wine was also introduced at an early period ; and 
our intercourse and alliance with France, and the cheapness of 
the wine, appear to have led to its being by no means a rare 
beverage, even amongst persons of little wealth. It is stated, for 
example, on the authority of the magistrates and ministers of 
Edinburgh, in a lawsuit which they had in 1814 respecting the 
ministers' stipends, that John Knox ' drew from his own pipe of 
claret the day before he died ; ' and it is known from the ancient 
accounts of the city, which are still preserved, that his stipend 
never exceeded 400 merks, or about 22 4s 5d of our money. 
That ale was the great national beverage of Scotland until a 
comparatively recent period, can easily be proved from public 

There are accounts in existence which give either the 
number of bushels of malt consumed, or the materials from 
which the computation can be made, for each year since 1714 ; 
and there are other accounts showing the number of gallons of 

Progress of Whisky -Drinking in Scotland. 17 

whisky consumed for each year since 1724, with the exception of 
the period from 1786 to 1789. From these documents we 
can ascertain the quantity of malt consumed during each 
year. In 1714, the duty was sixpence and a fraction per 
bushel, and the quantity consumed was 334,320 bushels. In 
1718, it fell to 86,695 bushels ; and in 1722, to 37,451. In 1725, 
the trade was nearly at an end, except in the hands of the smuggler, 
for the quantity fell to 385 bushels, and the total revenue there- 
from to 11 2s. During that year a new malt Act was passed 
by which the duty was reduced to threepence and a fraction ; 
and swarms of English officers of excise were sent down, to the 
great dismay of the people, vigorously to enforce its provisions. 
In consequence of these proceedings, the quantity consumed ro^e to 
2,145,233 bushels in 1726, and the revenue derived therefrom 
to 31,623 17s 5d. During the period from 1726 to 1780, the 
consumption exceeded two millions of bushels annually, being 
equal to nearly three bushels for each person of the population 
(supposed then to average about three quarters of a million), while 
in 1853 there were only 4,163,830 bushels consumed for a popula- 
tion of three millions, being only one and a half bushels for each 
person. The following statement shows how the consumption 
went on up to the present time : 

Years. Bushels of Malt Kate of Duty. 

1726 2,145,233 " 

1730 2,151,158 

1740 1,606,233 

1750 2,130,000 

1760 2,632,041 

1770 1,770,460 

1780 2,215,487 8Jd. 

1790 1,544,666 

1794 1,675,741 

1796 1,203,023 

1798 2,085,672 

1800 876,598 

1810 820,294 3s 

1820 1,182,208 3s 7Jd. 

1830 4,101,946 2s 7d. 

1840 4,397,304 2s 8d. 

1850 4,639,159 2s 8W. 

1851 4,101,946 2s 

1852 3,931,790 2s 

1853 4,163,830 2s 

1854 3,192,091 2s 8id. 

1855 1,630,865 4s. 

No Duty was charged on the Malt made into Whisky in 1855. 

18 Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 

An approximation to the quantity of ale and beer consumed 
at different periods can be reached only by deducting, from the 
total quantity of malt consumed, the proportion which was con- 
verted into whisky ; and this proportion varied in a very 
remarkable manner at various periods of our history. The 
quantity of whisky consumed in 1850 was upwards of seven 
millions of gallons, being equal to about two and one-third 
gallons for each person ; and, during the earlier period re- 
ferred to, it did not average 300,000 gallons annually, or half a 
gallon to each person. Thus, although the proportional con- 
sumption of malt has now been diminished by one-half, the con- 
sumption of whisky has, at the same time, increased from one- 
half gallon for each person to two and one-third gallons, or 
nearly fourfold for an equal population. If, therefore, we now 
consume four times as much whisky per head as we did from 
1726 to 1780, and if, notwithstanding, we then used double the 
quantity of malt per head which we now use, it follows that the 
quantity of ale then consumed must have been eight times 
greater per head than the quantity now consumed. In other 
words, ale was then the national beverage, and our ancestors 
were not a whisky-drinking people. 

Perhaps no better proof could be given of the enormous 
comparative consumption of ale and beer in ancient times than 
is furnished by the annual account-books of the city of Edin- 
burgh, which are still preserved. The Corporation had a right 
to a local custom on all ale and beers made or brought within 
the city or liberties ; and in 1694 this custom was let to the city 
tacksman for a sum equal to 4250 of our present money. During 
the same year, another custom on wines and foreign liquors was let 
for 2055, making a total annual income arising from intoxicat- 
ing drinks of 6205. This was an enormous sum to have been 
raised from such sources in that age. The Town Council never 
had the right to levy any custom on whisky ; because all their 
rights of custom were granted by royal charters and confirmed 
by Acts of Parliament, long before the drinking of whisky, as an 
ordinary beverage, was known in Scotland. As a point of com- 
parison, it may be stated that the Town Council was then bound 
to levy the Annuity tax of six per cent, on the rental of the city 
for the stipends of six ministers, who ought to have received from 
that source fill 2s 2d each, in terms of the Act of Parliament ; 
but not more than 600 a-year could then be raised by this tax, 
although ten times as much was raised from the tax on intoxicat- 
ing drinks. The same Annuity Tax now produces about 9000 
a-year. If the civic customs on ale, wine, and foreign liquors, 
had still been leviable, which they are not, and a proportional 
expenditure for these articles, as compared with the expenditure 

Progress of Whwky-JMnking in Scotland. 19 

for house-rent, had still continued, the civic customs on the ex- 
ciseable liquors would now have amounted to 90,000 per annum ! 

The number of brewers carrying on business will also assist 
in giving some idea of the comparative magnitude of the trade 
in ale about the beginning of last century. When the Act of 
1725 enforcing the payment of the new duty on malt, at the 
sight of the English officers of excise, came into operation in 
Edinburgh, there was a strike amongst the brewers, who refused 
to brew any longer. Their passive resistance was, however, 
overcome, and it is related that the defection from the com- 
bination was so great that forty brewers in Edinburgh, and ten 
in Leith, commenced working within a very short period. 

The number of maltsters at different periods, also, throws light 
on the comparative quantity of ale and beer consumed. The 
maltsters appear to have been first charged with license duty in 
1785. There were then 1567 maltsters' licenses issued in Scot- 
land, and the number gradually diminished till 1810, when there 
were only 169. 


When whisky was first introduced into Scotland, it appears to 
have been used only as a medicine, and to have been kept strictly 
under the lock and key of the medical practitioners, as it now is 
within those American towns where the Maine Law is rigorously 
enforced, backed by the sympathy and support of the people. 
A portion of the medical practitioners of Edinburgh now 
the Royal College of Surgeons in 1505 united in their own 
persons the rather incongruous duties of surgeons and barbers, 
and, in that capacity, applied to the Town Council, in 
accordance with the customs of the age, to be formed into a 
separate incorporation. The Town Council granted the prayer 
of ' Thair bill and supplicatioun,' by issuing the ( Seill of cause, 
granted be the Towne Counsell of Edinburgh, to the craftis 
of Surregeury and Barbouris,' dated July 1st, 1505. In the 
spirit of the times, this document amongst other exclusive 
privileges conferred on the newly incorporated body provided 
and declared ' that na persoun, man nor woman, within this 
Burgh, mak nor sell ony aquavite within the samyn, except the 
saidis maisteris, brother and freemen of the craftis, under paine 
of the escheit of the samyn, but [without] favours.' In this way 
the medical practitioners of that day obtained the control of the 
whisky bottle, both as makers and sellers of the spirits, as com- 
pletely as the apothecaries and druggists now have the control of 
chloroform, spirits of wine, morphia, and other preparations of 
opium. This and the other privileges granted by the Town Council 

20 Progress of Whisky- Drinking in Scotland. 

to the new medical incorporation were ratified by a Charter of 
Confirmation granted by King James IV. during the following 
year; and by another from James VI., in 1613; and, finally, 
the original seal of cause and the whole of these charters were 
ratified and confirmed by an Act of the Parliament of Scotland, 
passed in the reign of Charles the First, 17th November, 1641. 
The whisky bottle had been in the exclusive keeping of the 
medical profession for nearly a century and a half, and, by this 
Act, it appeared to be irrecoverably placed in their hands the 
' Chyrurgiares and Barbouris ot the said Burgh,' as they are 
designated in the Act. This potent spirit, however, does not appear 
to have been retained a very close prisoner by its Parliamentary 
custodiers. In less than a century after the passing of this Act, 
it appears to have come into pretty general use. 

It may be supposed by some that this monopoly ot whisky- 
selling, on the part of the surgeons, was never really enforced, and 
that their exclusive privilege was allowed to remain, practically, 
a dead letter. But this was by no means the case. We find, 
for example, from the Minutes of the Town Council, of 20th 
March 1556, that * Bessie Campbell' had been complained ot 
for violating these privileges ; upon which ( the Bailie sitting in 
judgment ordained Bessie Campbell to desist from making of 
aqua vitce in time coming, or selling of any, except on the mar- 
ket-day, against the privilege granted to the Barbers in their seal 
of cause.' It will be observed that the prohibition in this judg- 
ment against manufacturing whisky was absolute, while the pro- 
hibition against its sale tacitly permitted < Bessie' to sell on the 
market-day. The probable reason of this distinction was, that 
the privileges of i the Chirurgiares and Barbouris' were not held 
to prohibit Edinburgh traders from supplying country people, 
residing beyond the city and liberties, who, on market-days, 
came to town to purchase this and other articles of consumption. 
Whether this conjecture be correct or not, is of little importance*, 
for, whatever theory may Le adopted, the principle of restrictive 
legislation must be admitted to have been carried much far- 
ther three centuries since than it is now, under the operation 
of the ( Public-Houses Act.' The principle of the Maine Law 
thus appears to have been anticipated and enforced in Edinburgh 
three centuries ago. 

Coming down to the period of the Kevolution, there is a minute 
of the Town Council, of llth April lr>90, which ' appoints the 
Town Treasurer to furnish fourteen hogsheads of aqua vitse, for the 
use of the public, at the rate of thirty-two dollars for each hogs- 
head, extending, on the whole, to the sum of 108 8s 3d, sterling 
money.' The minute goes on to stipulate that a guarantee for 
the payment should first be got from the National Exchequer, 

Progress of Whisky -Drinking in Scotland. 21 

before the aqua vitse is furnished; and it appears from another 
minute, of 16th April, that the guarantee had been given, and 
that the aqua vitae was sent to Glasgow for the public service; but 
without throwing any light on the special service for which it 
was required. These facts appear to prove that, so recently as 
1690, whisky was still in some way under the keeping, or in- 
spection of the Town Council, so that Government, in supplying 
itself with fourteen hogsheads, for the public service, required 
the intervention of the Town Council to complete the transaction. 
The minutes also prove that whisky was then very cheap onlv 
7 14s l^d per hogshead. 

The public-house system, originating as we have seen in 1424, 
does not appear to have been of rapid growth for the first three 
centuries. This can be ascertained with considerable accuracy 
from the national accounts, because when the Excise duties 
were introduced into Scotland our financiers appear to have 
considered public-houses, and everything connected with them, 
as fair subjects for taxation; and in this way we can ascertain the 
number of public-houses from the number of licenses issued at 
various periods. 

In 1743, a license-duty, of 1, was first imposed on all 
* retailers of spirits,' and there were then 828 licensed retailers. 
The population at this period may be assumed to have been 
little more than three-quarters of a million; in 1801 it was 
ascertained to have been about a million and a-half; and in 1851 
about three millions. This disparity of numbers requires to 
be constantly kept in mind in dealing with facts of this kind 
bearing on our past history; and before proceeding farther, it may 
be here stated, as affording some points of comparison, that there 
are at present as many licenses issued to spirit dealers in Edin- 
burgh as there were then issued in all Scotland ; and that in 
Glasgow there are now twice as many as there were then in 
all Scotland. The licensed spirit dealers of 1743, however, 
appear to have been unwilling payers of the tax, for in the fol- 
lowing year the number of licenses taken out was reduced to 346. 

During the troublous time of the Rebellion, when the royal 
authority must have been at a low ebb, the numbers became still 
smaller. In 1745 there were only 255, and in the following 
year, 218, licenses taken out. In 1747, when the royal authority 
was re-established, the number increased to 625. In 1751 
the duty on licenses was increased to 40s, and the number issued 
fell to 344 ; but they increased in 1760 to 819 ; in 1770 to 893 ; 
and in 1780 to 1358. In 1788 a large increase in the amount 
of the license-duty took place, graduated according to the rent of 
the licensed premises, and varying from 4 14s to 7 2s. The 
number issued at the high rates fell, in consequence, to 1220 
during that year, and in 1791 to 811. 

22 Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 


In 1794 the number of licenses had again increased to 1304, 
but the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not appear to have 
been contented even with this great increase. During that 
year the fatal change was made in the licensing law, from 
which may be dated the rapid growth of the whisky-drinking 
propensities of Scotchmen. The enactment referred to permitted 
licenses to be granted to < retailers of plain aqua vitse only,' at the 
reduced rate of 20s in the Highlands and 40s in the Lowlands, in- 
stead of the former graduated high rates. The effect was magical. 
There were taken out during that year 4397 of these cheap 
whisky licenses, in addition to the 1304 general licenses which 
authorised the sale of foreign as well r,s British spirits. In this 
way the number of public-houses in Scotland was increased to 
5701, or fivefold, in a single year, and each of the new class of 
publicans became the centre of a circle, from which the people 
were taught to drink whisky, in preference to all other exciseable 

In 1815 the number of whisky licenses had increased to 5695, 
and the general licenses to 2774. Parliament then doubled the 
duty on whisky licenses and the number during the following 
year fell to 1809 thus clearly proving that Acts of Parliament 
have increased and diminished the number of public-houses, 
and, consequently, have increased and diminished the means of 
demoralising the people. The duty on general licenses was 
at the same time increased on houses under 15 of rent to 7 Is; 
but the number did not materially diminish, because during the 
following year the rate was reduced to 5 5s. Matters went on 
in this way till 1824, when the number of general licenses had 
increased to 3595, and those for whisky alone to the enormous 
number of 7539. The two classes were then united at uniform 
rates of duty. In 1825 the license-duty on houses under 10 
of rent, was reduced from 4 J4s to 2 2s; and on houses 
under i'20 of rent to 4 4s. 

The issuing of these two-guinea licenses, in 1825, gave 
such an extraordinary impetus to the spirit trade that, in 
each of the years 1829, 1830, and 1831, the total number of 
licenses issued exceeded 17,200. This was the climax, as re- 
garded the number of public-houses. Thoughtful people became 
seriously alarmed at the consequent increase of drunkenness ; 
and great efforts were made in various quarters to induce the 
Burgh Magistrates, and the Justices of the Peace for Counties 
to reduce the number of public-houses ; and the same feeling led 
to the Parliamentary inquiry of 1832. A reduction in the num- 
ber of licenses accordingly took place, but not to any great extent. 

Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 23 

In 1835 a change was made by which those who sold above fifty 
gallons annually were charged 50 per cent, additional ; but this 
distinction does not appear to have worked satisfactorily, for in 
two years thereafter the former rates were re-enacted. 

In 1841, the rates payable by 'retailers of spirits' were finally 
fixed, as they have remained up to the present time as follows : 

For Houses under 10 of rent, 220 

" " 20 440 

25 6 12 3J 

" 30 7 14 4 

Sum of these, 20 12 1\ 

Average of these, 532 

During the eight years ending in 1839, the number of 
licensed houses always exceeded 16,000; and during the seven 
years, ending in 1846, it always exceeded 15,000. The numbers 
have gradually diminished since that year under the operation of 
public opinion, until in 1855 they were reduced to 12,591 ; but the 
stimulus given to the consumption of whisky by the Acts referred 
to, reducing the license duty on low-rented houses, and by other 
causes which will afterwards be noticed, caused the demand for 
the whisky to go on with irresistible force. 

I do not trouble you with the license duty charged on higher rents, 
because, as a general rule, that class of houses do much less harm 
in corrupting the people than the low-rented houses. From 
this feeling, the licensing Magistrates of Edinburgh have, for many 
years, given a preference, in all cases of competition, to the high- 
rented houses, and they refuse to issue new licenses to small 
houses at low rents. Now, look for a moment at what has 
been done by Act of Parliament, in opposition to this salutary 
restriction. Our rulers have, in effect, said to the retailers 
of spirits, f lf you will open a respectable public-house, with 
good rooms, well ventilated, and in a good situation, where 
the rent may be nearly 30, we will fine you in 7 14s 4d 
yearly. If you will take one somewhat inferior, which may be 
rented under 25, we will restrict the fine to 6 12s 3^d. If 
you will take one smaller still, we will further reduce the fine to 
L.4 4s ; and if you will oblige us by taking a miserable, small, 
dark, ill-ventilated house, in a poor neighbourhood, where rents 
are low, and where the people are most likely to be initiated in 
drinking habits, we are so anxious to encourage houses of that 
class that you shall be charged only 2 2s.' 

The article sold being already taxed, no fiscal or equitable 
principle would be violated, either by charging no license- 
duty to any, or by charging an equal license duty to all 

24 Progress of Whisky -Drinking in Scotland. 

the right to grant licenses remaining, as at present, in the 
hands of the local Magistrates. The average duty now payable 
by these four classes is, as I have already shown, 5 3s 4d, 
and, if they are taxed at all, I can see no good reason why they 
should not be taxed equally, at 5 3s 4d each. Such an 
arrangement could not make much difference to the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer, and, in my opinion, it would greatly pro- 
mote the best interests of the working classes, by the gradual 
extinction of thousands of small public-houses which have done 
so much evil, and which, under a wise system of legislation, 
would never have been permitted to exist. When our opponents 
tell us, as they so frequently do, that we cannot make men sober 
by Act of Parliament, while we admit the truth of their proposi- 
tion, we may just hint to them that thousands of sober men 
have been made drunkards and Sabbath-breakers through the 
operation of Acts of Parliament, in the way which I have 
pointed out; and we may add a word to the effect that since 
Parliament has done so much evil by its unwise acts, surely it 
may be allowed, without so much violent opposition, to repeal 
some of its most objectionable enactments, in order to mitigate 
these evils. Even if it be admitted that Parliament is power- 
less to promote sobriety, surely we are at least entitled to ask, 
that it should no longer promote, as it has too often done, by 
unwise legislation, the demoralization of the people. 


The quantity of whisky consumed at various periods has under- 
gone the most extraordinary and unaccountable changes. In 
1725 the consumption was 145,602 gallons, and during the next 
eleven years was always about 200,000 gallons. In 1736 and 
1737 it increased to above 500,000 gallons, and in 1741 it fell to 
351,707 gallons. During the whole of this period the duty was 
so low as from 3d to 6d per gallon. In 1745, during the Re- 
bellion, the consumption increased to 598,469 gallons, and in 
1751 and 1752 to upwards of 800,000 gallons. During this 
period the duty varied from 6d to Is 3d. In 1758, 1759, and 
1760 the consumption fell to about 60,000 gallons, or less than 
one-twelfth part of what it had been a few years before. The 
duty during this period was Is 2d and Is 7^d. In the five fol- 
lowing years it varied from Is 2d to Is lOJd, and the consump- 
tion again fell, averaging only about 55,000 gallons. In 1770 
it increased to 69,068 gallons, the duty being the same as before. 
As a point of comparison with the consumption during these 
twelve years, it may be noticed that the present consumption by 
a town of 30,000 inhabitants (such as Leith, for example) is 

Progress of Whisky -Drinking in Scotland. 25 

about 70,000 gallons, so that the average annual consumption, 
during the period referred to, in the whole of Scotland, was not 
equal to the present consumption in a town of 30,000 inhabi- 
tants. Nothing could more clearly show that the Scotch were 
not then a whisky-drinking people" In 1780 the duty was in- 
creased to 3s 5d and 4s 1-^d, and the consumption was 194,242 
gallons ; in 1786 the duty was 2s 7-Jd, and the quantity consumed 
was 824,988 gallons. 

Coming down to more recent times, the consumption and duty 
were respectively as follows : 

Amount of Duty 
Year. Gallons. per Gallon. " 

1800 1,277,596 

1810 1,748,140 5s 9d. 

1820 1,863,987 6s 2d. 

1825 5,981,459 2s 4d, 3s 4d. 

1830 6,007,631 ^s lOd, 3s, 3s 2d. 

1840 6,180,138 3s 4d, 3s 8d. 

1850 7,122,987 3s 8d. 

1851 6,830,710 3s 8d. 

1852 7,172,015 3s 8d. 

1853 6,534,648 3s 8d, 4s 8d. 

1854 6,553,239 4s 8d, 5s 8d. 6s. 

1855 5,344,319 6s, 7s lOd, 8s. 

No duty is now T imposed on the malt made into whisky, at the 
8s duty. The above figures all refer to the usual financial year 
commencing on the first of April, and are taken from the first 
Report of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue. It will be 
seen from these figures that the diminution in the number of 
public-houses had not, up to 1852, reduced the consumption of 
whisky ; but that, on the contrary, it went on steadily increasing 
till it reached its highest point during that year. 

It is, however, right to state that a large portion of the increased 
consumption shown in the table from 1820 to 1830, was probably 
owing to the reduction in the rate of duty. The comparatively 
high duty previously imposed had the effect of encouraging 
smuggling, which was carried on to such an extent that, in the 
opinion of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, one-half of the 
whisky consumed in Scotland during that year was furnished by 
the smuggler; and it is well known, from other sources, that 
smuggling to a considerable extent existed in Scotland for a very 
long period prior to 1820. In 1823 the duty was reduced to 
2s 4Jd, and in two years thereafter the quantity which paid 
duty had increased nearly threefold. 

26 Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 


I have always been of opinion that if we diminish the number 
of public-houses, and do nothing more, we do not thereby neces- 
sarily } and at once, diminish the amount of consumption ; forexisting 
drunkards have their habits so formed, and many of them have 
such an intense desire for spirits, that they will obtain it in spite 
of all the barriers of this kind which may be put in their way. 
A single gin-palace may swallow up many small public-houses, 
and yet do as much business in one establishment as was formerly 
done in many smaller ones ; and thus no immediately perceptible 
decrtase in the quantity of spirits sold can be expected to arise 
from the operation of this cause alone. But the diminution in the 
number of houses has a tendency to stop the progressively increas- 
ing trade in spirits, because every house suppressed is the re- 
moval of a snare for entrapping and enlisting the sober persons 
of its neighbourhood into the ranks of the drunkards ; and there 
can be no doubt that, from the operation of this cause, there 
would have been a still greater increase in the quantity of spirits 
sold, if the number of these houses had not been so much dimin- 
ished. Death rapidly removes the existing generation of drunk- 
ards, and, if we can prevent a new generation from rising up, from 
the young and sober classes of society, to fill the places of those 
who, from intemperate habits, have been carried to a premature 
grave, we may then look for a large diminution in the quantity of 
spirits consumed, and for other beneficial results which will 
assuredly follow. It is in this way chiefly that the suppression 
of small public-houses, especially in low neighbourhoods, does so 
much good. Every such house is in effect a mission station for 
implanting evil habits, having a fixed staff whose interest, and 
even livelihood, depend on their being able to make their neigh- 
bours good customers, or, in other words, to make them large 
consumers of whisky. If you wish to Christianize low neigh- 
bourhoods, all experience proves that you can do it most effectu- 
ally by planting mission stations in their midst. If, on the other 
hand, it were desired still farther to demoralize them, experience 
equally proves that it could be done most effectually by planting 
low public-houses in their midst. Holding these, views, and 
knowing the other great social evils which are frequently connec- 
ted with such houses,* I rejoice with my whole heart at every 
diminution of their number. 

* On this subject the following remarks were made at the Hull Sessions on the 
3d April, 1858, by the learned Recorder, Mr Samuel Warren, M.P., : 

' As for intemperance, very strenuous efforts are being made to deal with those 
pest-houses called beer-shops, and other places where intoxicating liquors are almost 
the recognised incentives to crimes of every description. A deputation of great influence 

Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 27 


After 1850 the agitation for a restrictive law to close all public- 
houses at eleven o'clock at night, and during the whole of Sun lay, 
went on with much vigour. About 200 members of the Edin- 
burgh Abstinence Society united with other friends of the cause, 
to watch and record the number of persons who entered all the 
public houses within the City of Edinburgh during one Sunday; 
and the number of visits was found to be 41,796. The number 
of visitors to certain houses was put down at such incredibly 
large figures, that the public doubted the accuracy of the returns. 
In these circumstances, the Magistrates ordered the same houses 
to be watched by the police, on the following Sunday, and the 
number of visits to be recorded, when the numbers were found to 
be rather larger than those previously taken by the members of 
the abstinence society. These proceedings produced a great im- 
pression in the city in favour of restrictive legislation, as did the 
continued efforts of this Society in support of the cause. The 
Magistrates of Edinburgh, in 1852 and 1853, made a great step 
in advance to promote the cause of Sabbath observance, by in- 
ducing a large majority of the spirit dealers within their juris- 
diction voluntarily to close their houses during the whole of the 
Sabbath. The good effects of this movement were so apparent in 
Edinburgh that no candid man ventured to call the fact in question. 
The experience of Edinburgh increased the desire formerly exist- 
ing, in other places, for a general restrictive law for this purpose. 
The cause was likewise greatly promoted by certain Parliamentary 
returns, moved for by that indefatigable friend of the people, and, 
in my opinion, the best member Scotland ever had Joseph 
Hume. These returns, going back, as they did, for a series of 
years, showed such an appalling amount of drunkenness and 
crime, especially in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and other large towns, 
that it was found to be impossible any longer to resist the calls 

waited the other day on the new Home Secretary, Mr Walpole, and their well- 
founded representations and earnest recommendations were not made in vain. 
The Home Secretary let fall one valuable suggestion that he should communi- 
cate with all the judges of assizes and sessions, in order to ascertain to what 
extent the evidence in criminal cases connected the offence with beer-houses. 
Gentlemen, he is welcome to look at my notes during the six years of my sitting 
here; and he will find almost every case at least every other case directly dis- 
closing either the concoction, or the actual perpetration, of crime at these infer- 
nal scenes of guilt and degradation where all seeds of virtue are consumed in 
the excitement of intemperance, and crime itself arrayed in hues of attraction 
and pleasure. I do most earnestly hope to see a measure shortly laid on the table 
of the House of Commons having for its object to bring these scenes of abomina- 
tion these moral charnel-houses more effectually within the control of the 
authorities, without carrying interference too far. The last of the three sources 
to which I referred has come latterly into mournful prominence, as the vice of 
the age and whatever other sources it may have, in the execrable wickedness 
of our sex of either sex who can deny that it is fed from those other two 
sources to which I have referred ? ' 

28 Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 

which were made for restrictive legislation ; and, accordingly, 
the ' Public-Houses Act' was introduced and carried through 
during the session of 1853, in the manner already described, 
without much public opposition. It came into operation, as already 
stated, on the 21st of May 1854, and has been productive of an 
incalculable amount of good. 

After the Act had been in operation for three years, Mr Mur- 
ray Dunlop, M.P., at the request of friends of the cause in this 
city, moved for a return, showing the working of the Act in all the 
towns having a population exceeding 5000, during the first three 
years of its existence, and also during the three years immediately 
preceding the passing of the Act. These returns have not yet been 
issued by the House of Commons, but copies of those for several of 
the large towns have been published by the local authorities ; and 
the favourable change which has taken place under the operation 
of the new law, in reducing the amount of drunkenness and crime, 
has greatly exceeded the most sanguine expectations of the original 
promoters of the Act. 

Mr Murray Dunlop likewise moved for a return showing the 
quantity of spirits consumed in Scotland during each of the six 
years referred to. This return has been issued; (March 1, 1858) 
and in place of showing an increased consumption of nearly two 
millions of gallons, as was stated to be the case in the memorial 
recently presented by the Glasgow Committee to Sir George 
Grey, it shows a large decrease. There is no doubt or difficulty 
respecting the figures of this return as regards the first four 
years of the six, but there is a difficulty as regards the fifth and 
sixth years (1856 and 1857) which requires to be explained. In 
these two years the duty on whisky in Scotland and England 
was equalised, and, in consequence of no separate account having 
been kept for the two kingdoms, no return could be got for Scot- 
land except one showing the number of gallons on which duty 
had been paid in Scotland; and this return necessarily included 
all the whisky manufactured in Scotland, which was afterwards 
sent to, and consumed in England. 

During the first four years of the series separate accounts were 
kept, and the average yearly quantity then sent to, and consumed 
in England, was thus ascertained to have been 2,333,217 gallons. 
If it be assumed that England consumed neither more nor less 
daring 1856 and 1857 than the average annual amount of its con- 
sumption during the four preceding years, the true consumption 
of Scotland will be accurately ascertained by deducting this 
average number of gallons from the quantity stated in the return 
as having paid duty in Scotland during these two years. This 
operation I have performed, and the following figures give an 
accurate view of the results : 

Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 



Years en'.ling 
3 1st May. 


Brandy, Gin, and 











Years ending 
3 1st May. 


Brandy, Gin, and 











The General Results condensed are as follows : 

Years ending 
3 1st May. 

Total Consumption 
Under Old Law. 

Years ending 
31st May. 

Total Consumption 
under New Law. 







tinder New La 



It appears by this mode of computation that, in place of an 
increased consumption of nearly two millions of gallons yearly, 
there has been an actual decrease on the three years of 2,159,253 
gallons. My own opinion is, that, looking to the facilities now 
enjoyed for sending any quantity of whisky, however small, to 
England, and to the fact that nothing less than 20 gallons could 
formerly be sent, the real quantity consumed in England must 
have increased considerably beyond this average; and if this be 
the case, the decrease in the consumption of Scotland must be 

* In 1853, 1854, and 1855, the duty on whisky was advanced five time?, and the 
intention somehow got abroad, and led to very large speculative purchases on 
which the lower duty was paid before the advanced rates took effect. The large 
stock thus accumulated in the hands of traders served for the consumption of a 
portion of the following years, and hence the apparent reduction to the enormous 
extent of 1,556,983 gallons during 1856, as compared with 1853, and of only 
267,859 gallons during the succeeding year. If the average of both sums were 
taken for each year, it would probably be more correct in fact than the figures 
given in the table. 

30 Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 

considerably greater than is assumed in this calculation. I do 
not, however, attribute the same importance which some do, as a 
test, to any rise or fall, during a few years, in the quantity of 
spirits consumed ; and the foregoing figures are produced mainly 
to disprove the assertions of the Glasgow Committee, that the 
6 Public Houses Act' had occasioned the enormous additional 
consumption of nearly two millions of gallons of whisky in one 
year. Many circumstances modify the apparent consumption of 
whisky shown in the Excise returns during particular years ; as, 
for example, speculative purchases made, and duty paid on them, 
in anticipation of an increased rate of duty being imposed; 
the higher and lower prices of grain; the higher and lower rates 
of duty on malt and whisky ; and the ability of the working 
classes the great consumers to spend more or less of their 
earnings in the purchase of spirits. All these circumstances 
will, to some extent, affect the apparent consumption of particu- 
lar years, and therefore it is unsafe to draw sweeping general 
conclusions from isolated facts. It is equally our duty to act 
properly whether the result of our efforts shall be to produce a 
small or a large return to those whose benefit we are anxious to 


The statistics of drunkenness and crime which the order for 
Mr Murray Dunlop's return has already brought to light would, 
to me, be a tempting subject on which to dilate at length, but 
for the space which these observations have already occupied, 
and therefore I shall not go deeply into the general question at 
present, but hope to have some other opportunity of expressing 
my sentiments on the subject after the returns shall have been 
issued by Parliament. In the meantime I cannot resist the 
pleasure of briefly referring to the returns for Glasgow and some 
of the large towns, in the shape in which they have been pub- 
lished in the Glasgow and other local newspapers.* 

The following are the total number of cases of drunkenness in 
Glasgow for each of the three years ending in 1853, under the 
old law ; and for each of the three years ending in 1856, under 
the new law. The population, according to the best authority, 

* From inquiries which I made, by letter, while these sheets were passing 
through the press, I find, by an answer received, of date 10th April, from the 
respected superintendent of Police in Glasgow, Captain Smart, who has done so 
much to promote the cause of sobriety, that the returns for the six years, as 
printed in the Glasgow newspapers, were for the six years ending in 1856, 
whilst those given in Mr Dunlop's Parliamentary returns, are for the six years 
ending 1857, and hence certain discrepancies. All the Glasgow returns are for the 
natural years, ending respectively on 31st December, and thus only two years 
and seven months of the period embraced in the returns which follow (ending 
in 1856) were, strictly speaking, under the operations of the new law. 

Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 31 

Dr Strang, the City Chamberlain, was 329,026 in 1851, and 
391,400 at the close of 1857, making a difference of population 
between these two periods of no less than 62,374. 


No. of Cases No of Cases 

Year. under Old Lav.-. Year. under New Law. 

1851 24,019 1854 19,434 

1852 23,788 1855 16,266 

1853 23,841 1856 17,446 

71,648 53,146 

Here there is a real decrease of 18,502 cases of drunkenness un- 
der the operation of the Public-Houses Act, during the first 
three years. Taking the cases of drunkenness on Sundays apart 
from the other cases with which they are mixed up in the first 
view, the following are the results : 


No. of Cases No. of Cases 

Year. under Old Law. Year. itnder New Law. 

1851 1525 1854 464 

1852 1339 1855 481 

1853 1218 185(5 521 

4082 1466 

The decrease here is enormous from 4082 cases of Sunday 
drunkenness, under the old law, to 1466 cases, under the new. 

We come next to the cases of drunkenness and crime com- 
bined that is, cases of persons who were charged with the ordinary 
run of criminal offences, great and small, or with offences under 
the Police Act, and who were drunk when they were apprehended. 
This classification, of course, excludes all the helpless, inoffensive 
drunkards who were carried to the Police-office merely for their 
own protection, and who were discharged without being brought 
before the Magistrates: 


No. of Cases No. of Cases 

Year. under Old Law. Year. under New Law. 

1851 13,328 1854 6787 

1852 10,985 1855 6058 

1853 10,659 1856 6525 

34,972 19,370 

In this class of cases there is likewise an enormous decrease 
from 34.972 under the old law, to 19,370 under the new. 

32 Progrss of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 

It has thus been proved to you that, in the great city of the 
West, the chosen battle field of our opponents on all occasions, 
the total number of cases of drunkenness was 33 per cent, 
greater under the old law than under the new; that the 
number of Sunday cases was about 200 per cent, greater under 
the old law than under the new; and that the crime com- 
mitted under the influence of drunkenness was 84 per cent, 
greater under the old law than under the new. It must be 
remembered that this last division consists of the class of offend- 
ers referred to in the evidence of Principal Lee, already quoted, 
in which he so justly states that great injury and suffering is in- 
flicted on innocent persons, and much trouble and expense is 
entailed on the community, in the apprehension, trial, and pun- 
ishment of the offenders. Among this criminal class it has been 
shown that there was a decrease, from 34,972, under the old law, 
to 19,370, under the new a diminution of 15,602 cases ot 
crime combined with drunkenness, under the operation of the 
new law. Had the Public-Houses Act done nothing more 
than this, it would have been a most valuable enactment; but 
other towns have derived equal advantages from that excellent 
measure, which I, therefore, hope the Legislature will maintain 
in all its integrity. 

I am anxious to impress on those who enter on this question, the 
great importance of giving effect to the increase of population in 
Glasgow during the last six years, in so far as it bears on the 
working of the Public-Houses Act. We are apt to talk of an 
increased population of 62,374 without attaching any very de- 
finite meaning to this large number. To enable you to have some 
idea of the vast number of people represented by these figures, 
who have been added to the former population of Glasgow 
during these six years, I may state that it is equal to the united 
population of all the towns within a wide circuit around the city 
of Edinburgh. Include in this circuit, Leith, Portobello, Mus- 
selburgh, Haddington, Dalkeith, Lasswade, Queen sferry, Lin- 
lithgow, and Stirling, and, according to the census of 1851, you 
will have a population nearly equal to the increase in the 
population of Glasgow during the last six years. If then, you 
wish to make a perfectly just comparison respecting the amount of 
drunkenness and crime which occurred in Glasgow in 1857, 
pass over the five years immediately preceding, and take the 
amount of drunkenness and crime for the sixth year, counting 
backwards, (1 851) as your point of comparison. Having ascer- 
tained the amount of drunkenness and crime during that year, 
then add the amount of drunkenness and crime for the 
same year which occurred in all the towns named, and the 
aggregate amount should be equal to the drunkenness and crime 

Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 


which would have existed in Glasgow during 1857, if the Public- 
Houses Act had not been passed, and if no similar measure 
had been brought into operation to repress what is described in 
one of the old Acts before quoted as ( the vile and detestable sin 
of drunkenness.' It will therefore be seen that, in addition to 
the absolute decrease of crime shown in these tabular statements, 
there has been a large additional relative decrease, which these 
tables do not represent ; and the same remarks apply, more or 
less, to the increased population of all the other large towns. 

We come next to the prison returns for Glasgow, in which we 
likewise find an extremely favourable result : 



Daily Average Number 

of Prisoners 
under the Old Law. 



Daily Average Number 

of Prisoners 
Year. under the New Law. 

1855 573 

1856 491 

1857 462 


Edinburgh, within the limits of its Police Act, contained in 
1851 a population of 165,000, and is supposed to have increased 
about 15,000 during the six succeeding years. The Returns for 
Edinburgh have been made in compliance with the orders of the 
House of Commons, for each of the last six years, ending res- 
pectively on the 31st May ; and the number of cases is as 
follows : 


Year. No. of Cases. 

1852 9670 

1853 9792 

1854 9443 


Year. No. of Cases 

1855 8561 

1856 8018 

1857 7324 


There has been a total decrease of 5002 cases under the opera- 
tion of the new Act ; so that under the old law the total number 
of cases of drunkenness was about 20 per cent, greater than 
under the new. 

Taking the cases of drunkenness on Sundays apart from the 
others, the following are the results : 

Year. No. of Cases. 

1855 159 

Year. No. of Cases. 

1852 701 

1853 704 

1854 604 






Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 

There is thus a decrease of 1521 cases of Sunday drunkenness 
in Edinburgh out of 2009, so that under the old law the propor- 
tion of such cases was 300 per cent, greater than under the new. 


Coming now to the neighbouring town of Leith, the popula- 
tion in 1851, within the limits of its Police Act (which are 
smaller than those of the Parliamentary Burgh) was about 
26,000; and the total number of cases for each of the last six 
years, ending respectively on the 31st May, was as follows : 

Year. No. of Cases. 

1852 850 

1853 651 

1854 727 

Year. No. of Cases. 

1855 666 

1856 497 

1857 523 

2228 1686 

The decrease was thus 542 cases out of the former number of 

2228, so that the number of cases under the old law was about 

44 per cent, greater than under the new. 

Taking the cases of Sunday drunkenness by themselves, the 

numbers are 

Year. No. of Cases. 

1852 95 

1853 102 

1854 109 

Year. No. of Cases. 

1855 32 

1856 14 

1857 21 

306 67 

The decrease has thus been 239 out of 306 cases; in other words, 
the number of Sunday cases was about 250 per cent, greater 
under the old law than under the new. 

We naturally go to the prison from the police-office, and there 
we may, with advantage, watch the fearful results of drunken- 
ness and crime combined, as they existed both under the old law 
and the new. The great prison situated within Edinburgh, con- 
tains all the prisoners belonging to Edinburgh, Leith, and the 
other portions of the county ; and the average daily number of 
these, during the six years ending respectively on the 31st May, 
was as follows : 


Average daily 
Year. No. of Prisoners. 

1852 634 

1853 620 

1854 495 

Average daily 
Years. No. of Prisoners. 

1855 395 

1856 380 

1857 331 

Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 


This table shows that, comparing the first year of the series 
with the last, the average daily number of prisoners was nearly 
100 per cent, greater under the old law than under the new. 
With reference to the decrease in the number of prisoners in 
1854, as compared with 1853, I may state that, having then 
been chief Magistrate of the city, the other Magistrates and my- 
self { refused licenses to all Sunday traders who were convicted of 
other offences in effect established the principle of the Public- 
Houses Act over a large portion of the city before it was 
enacted by Parliament as the general rule for Scotland; and 
hence arose the great decrease of prisoners in 1854, as compared 
with the preceding year.' The value of the principle embodied 
in the Act was thus practically established in Edinburgh before 
the Act was passed. 

I cannot avoid referring to certain returns respecting the 
Prisons of Edinburgh just issued, made up to the first day of 
April, 1858. From these returns I have taken the average 
daily number of prisoners for the quarters ending on the first day 
of April, during each of the last eight years. The comparison 
is one of the fairest which could be made, because four of the 
years compared are those immediately before the passing of the 
Public-Houses Act, and the other four are those which fol- 
lowed immediately thereafter. 



Average Daily 
Number of Prisoners. 


Average Daily 
Number of Prisoners. 

















It will be seen from these figures that, although, during the 
first three of the quarters, there was an extraordinary degree of 
uniformity in the daily average number of prisoners, there was, 
on the corresponding quarter of the fourth year, a considerable 
decrease. This decrease was clearly traced, at the time, to the 
measures already referred to, by which the great majority of the 
spirit dealers were induced voluntarily to close their places of 
business on Sundays during the whole day. In short, the people 
of Edinburgh partially anticipated the Public-Houses Act by 
one year, arid therefore enjoyed a portion of the fruits a year 
earlier than was done in other places. 

So great was the amount of crime in Edinburgh before the passing 


Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 

of the Act, that the accommodation in the prison was found quite 
insufficient for the number of prisoners ; and on the representa- 
tion of the Prison Board, the sum of 12,000 was actually voted 
for the purpose of building an addition to the prison of Edin- 
burgh. All that money we should have had to pay, had this Act 
not been passed ; but it caused such a decrease in the number of 
prisoners that, at the instance of the Town Council, it was agreed 
not to proceed with the contemplated addition to the prison. 
When any person attempts to throw discredit on these statis- 
tics, by saying that the Public-Houses Act has not been the cause 
of this decrease in crime, ask what has been the cause? Insist 
on getting a distinct answer to the question why, when the num- 
bers had been going on increasing, or remaining stationary, they 
have now fallen down to about one-half? There must have been 
some cause for this ; and if any one declines to agree with us, 
in attributing it to the operation of the Public-Houses Act, he is 
bound by all the principles of consistency and sound logic to give 
his own theory of the cause of decrease. 


In Dundee, the cases during each of the six years, ending 
respectively on 31st May, stood thus 

Year. No. of Cases. 

1851 1208 

1852 1042 

1853 1416 


Year. No. of Cases. 

1854 1186 

1855 987 

1856 1002 


The decrease was thus limited to 491 out of 3666 cases; in 
other words, the number of cases in Dundee under the old law, 
was only 14 per cent, greater than under the new. 

As regards the Sunday cases in Dundee, the Act appears to 
have been more strictly enforced than in cases occurring during 
the other days of the week ; and hence the results of the Sunday 
cases more nearly approach those of the other towns. 

Years. No. of Cases. 

1854 43 

Years. No. of Cases. 

1851 95 

1852 107 

1853 112 





The decrease in Sunday cases was thus 170 out of 314; in other 
words, under the old law the cases were about 120 per cent, 
greater than under the new. 

Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 



Taking Paisley next in order, the number of commitments for 
crimes of all kinds, including cases of drunkenness, was as 
follows, for each of the six years, ending respectively on 3 1st 
May : 


Year. No. of Cases. 

1852 797 





Year. No. of Cases. 

1855 716 

1856 781 
1867 587 



The decrease shown is 568 out of 2652 cases. Thus the total 
number of commitments was 25 per cent, greater under the old 
law than under the new. It is explained in the return that the 
number of commitments was unduly increased during 1856, as 
compared with 1855, by the fact that 135 soldiers were com- 
mitted for military offences during 1856, and are included in the 
numbers for that year. 

The number of cases classed in Paisley as * drunk, assaults, 
and disorderly,' were as follows during the same period : 

Year. No. of Cases. 

1855 297 


Year. No. of Cases. 

1852 308 

1853 459 

1854 414 




The decrease in the cases classified as 'drunk, assaults, and 
disorderly,' has thus been 434 out of 1181; in other words, the 
number of cases under the old law was about 56 per cent, 
greater than under the new. 

The average daily number of prisoners in Paisley, was as 
follows during each of the six years : 

Year. No. of Cases. 

1852 111 

1853 141 

1854 124 

Year. No. of Cases. 

1855 102 

1856 92 

1857 73 

Thus the average daily number of prisoners was about 50 per 
cent, greater during the first year of the series than during the 


Progress of WJiisky-Drinking in Scotland. 


Going onwards to Greenock, the total number of cases of 
drunkenness is stated to be as follows. 

Year. No. of Cases. 

1852 2199 

1853 2608 

1854 4235 


Year. No. of Cases. 

1855 2887 

1856 1905 

1857 1495 


The decrease in Greenock has therefore been 2755 cases. 
Thus the total number of cases under the old law, was about 
45 per cent, greater than under the new. 

The Sunday cases of drunkenness in Greenock, taken apart 
from the others, were as follows : 

Year. No. of Cases. 

1852 276 

1853 303 

1854 426 


Year. No. of Cases. 

1855 221 

1856 129 

1857 131 


The decrease in the Sunday cases of drunkenness in Greenock 
was thus 524 out of 1005. The number of cases under the old 
law was therefore about 110 per cent, greater than under the new. 


In Arbroath the number of cases of drunkenness for each of 
the six years was as follows : 

Year. No. of Cases. 

1855 277 



Year. No. of Cases. 

1852 528 

1853 553 

1854 454 




Arbroath thus holds the distinguished pre-eminence in pro- 
gressive sobriety ; the decrease in the number of cases has been 
822 out of 1535. Under the old law, therefore, the total number 
of cases was 115 per cent, greater than under the new. 

The Sunday cases in Arbroath show still more delightful 
results, thus : 

Progress of Whisky- Drinking in Scotland. 


Year. No. of Cases. 

1852 20 

1853 12 

1854 20 


Year. No. of Cases. 

1855 3 

1856 4 


There is thus a decrease of 45 cases of Sunday drunkenness out 
of 52; the proportions being, that under the old law the 
number of Sunday cases was 600 per cent, greater than under 
the new. 


Going onwards to the capital of the Highlands, we find a 
great improvement in Inverness : 


Year. No. of Cases. 

1852 300 

1853 295 

1854 256 


Year. No. of Cases. 

1855 202 

1856 159 

1857 132 


There is thus a decrease of 358 out of 851 cases in Inverness. 
The number of cases under the old law was 70 per cent, greater 
than under the new. 

The result of the Sunday cases of drunkenness in Inverness 
is still more remarkable, and stands next in order to that of 
Arbroath, as follows : 

Year. No. of Cases. 

1852 63 

1853 45 

1854 46 


Year. No. of Cases. 

1855 22 

1856 7 

1857 8 


The decrease in Inverness has been 117 out of 154 cases ; un- 
der the old law the decrease was 320 per cent, greater than under 
the new. 

After these sheets were in type, the Return for all the towns, 
obtained on the motion of Mr Murray Dunlop, and printed by 
order of the House of Commons, (24th March, 1858,) reached 
me. Not to go over the ground again in detail, I have con- 
densed the Results into three tables. The Return is for the six 


Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 

years ending on the 31st May, 1857, being three years under 
the old law, and three years under the new. 

Several of the burghs have sent incomplete returns, and some 
have sent none.* The following Abstract shows the population 
of each burgh from which complete returns have been obtained ; 
the total number of cases of drunkenness alone, and of drunken- 
ness combined with crime, which occurred in each burgh (1) 
during the last three years of the old law, and (2) during the first 
three years of the new. I am happy to observe that in all the towns, 
except two, there is a large decrease in drunkenness and crime 
under the operation of the new law. The two towns which thus 
stand out in bad pre-eminence are Ayr and Elgin. It would be 
very satisfactory, for their own credit, if some explanation could 
be given of this damaging fact. 

Total Cases Total Cases 
Population. under under 

Old Law. New Law. 

Edinburgh, . 

The two following towns\ 
show an increase : j 

1. Ayr, . . 

2. Elgin, . 




















































The population of these towns in 1851 was 888,620. As the 
town population of Britain increases, on an average, at the rate 
of 2J per cent, per annum (and in Glasgow and Dundee at a 
higher rate), the total increase since 1851 will thus be 15 per 
cent., or 133,293 ; and the present population will therefore be 
1,021,913. The total number of cases of drunkenness and 
crime during the three years, under the old law, was 145,366 ; 

* The three abstracts which follow I allowed to appear in the Daily Express, in 
order that the import of this valuable Return might be generally known as early 
as possible, without waiting for the publication of this pamphlet. 

Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 


while, under the new law, with a larger population, the number 
fell to 116,101. The decrease thus amounted to the enormous 
number of 29,365 cases during three years, the number under 
the old law being 22 per cent, greater than under the new, 
without taking into account the subsequent increase in popula- 

The next abstract has reference to the Sunday cases alone 
separating them from those which occurred during the other 
days of the week and the results are certainly far more favour- 
able than even the most enthusiastic friend of restrictive legisla- 
tion could possibly have dreamed of. The first column of the 
table shows the number of cases during the last three years in 
which the old law was in operation, ending 31st May, 1854; 
and the second column shows the number of cases during the 
first three years in which the new law was in operation, ending 
31st May, 1857. The comparison is therefore so fair, that no 
possible objection can be raised to it, either by the friends or the 
opponents of the Forbes M'Kenzie Act. 


Three Years 
under tbe 


Old Law. 




















Three Years 
under the 

Three Years 
under the 

Three Year* 
under the J 

New Law. 



New Law. 






























> ^ 






It thus appears that, under the old law, when the public- 
houses were open on Sundays, there occurred 11,471 cases of 
drunkenness alone, or drunkenness combined with crime ; and 
that during the same period of time, under the operation of the 
new law, when the public-houses were required to be shut 
during the whole of the Sundays, the number of cases fell to 
4299. The number of cases of drunkenness alone, and drunken- 
ness combined with crime, was thus 165 per cent, greater on 
Sundays, under the old law than under the new, in the chief 
towns of Scotland, now including a population exceeding u 
million; and in every town in the table, without exception, 
there has been a considerable decrease. I trust that after this 
exposure of the mis-statements of the publicans and their abet- 
tors, respecting the alleged great increase of drunkenness on Sun- 
days, through the operation of unlicensed shebeens, \\Q shall 


Progress of Whisky -Drinking in Scotland. 

hear no more of their complaints ; and, should they be imper- 
vious to all higher motives, that a feeling of shame may induce 
future silence. 

As regards that portion of the return which refers to the 
Prisons of Scotland, it appears that the average daily number of 
prisoners in each of the burghs, with two exceptions, shows a 
large decrease. The two burghs thus distinguished are Airdrie 
and Forfar. The total daily average number of prisoners during 
the first of the three years, under the old law, was 2315, and 
during the last year of the new law, 1434. There is thus the 
gratifying fact apparent, that the daily average number of pris- 
oners in Scotland has been diminished under the operation of 
the new law, by 881. The number of prisoners maintained daily 
at the public expense was, in fact, 60 per cent, greater in 1852, 
under the old law, than in 1857, under the new, as the following 
table will show : 

No. of No. of 

Prisoners Prisoner* 
in 1862. in 1857. 

14. Lanark, 21 11 

15. Dunfermline, 18 13 
15. Montrose, 18 8 

17. Banff, 16 11 

18. Kilmarnock, 14 12 

19. Stranraer, 14 9 

20. Elgin, 10 8 
On the two following) 

prisons there has > 
been an increase : ) 

1. Airdrie, 23 31 

2. Forfar, 16 18 

Totals, 2315 1434 

For any discrepancies betwixt the returns printed in the local 
papers, and those printed by the House of Commons, I am not 
responsible, as I have carefully copied both sets as they appeared 
in the several publications. All the returns respecting Glasgow 
(including both sets), are for the natural years, ending 31st Dec., 
whilst the order of the House of Commons was for returns for the 
years ending on the 31st of May. In this respect, the Glasgow 
returns are not in strict conformity with the order of the House, 
although this does not appear on the face of the paper as printed ; 
and they come down one year later than those published in the 
Glasgow newspapers. The effect of this change in the month 
during which the years terminate is, that the first three years, 
ending 31st Dec., 1854, included in the House of Commons returns, 
and which were intended to show the operation of the old law, were 
not all under its operation. The period of seven months and ten 
days, from 21st May to 31st December 1854, having been under 

No. of 

No o 

in 1852. 

in 1847. 

1. Glasgow, 



2. Edinburgh, 



3. Dundee, 



4. Paisley, 



5. Stirling, 



6. Perth, 



7. Aberdeen, 



8. Ayr, 



9. Cupar, 



10. Dumfries, 



11. Hamilton, 



12. Greenock, 



13. Inverness, 



Progress of Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 43 

the operation of the new law, the comparison between the work- 
ing of the two systems has not been fairly made. The amount of 
drunkenness and crime intended to have been shown under the 
old law, has, for these seven and one-third months, been under 
the new law, and therefore has been unduly diminished, so far as 
regards the purposes of this comparison, although the figures are 
no doubt quite correct as regards the six years which they repre- 
sent. Still these six years not being for the period ordered by 
Parliament, without this explanation, erroneous inferences would 
inevitably be drawn from them. The year 1854 must either be 
omitted in any correct comparison, or considered as one under the 
new law, seeing that only four months and two-thirds of it were 
under the old law, and seven months and one-third under the 
new law. 

For these reasons, it will be apparent to all who carefully con- 
sider the question, that the following analysis will more correctly 
show the real comparative advantages of the new law over the old, 
than either the comparison made from the six years which were 
published in the Glasgow newspapers, or the six years which are 
included in the returns printed by order of the House of Com- 
mons. The following figures are taken from Captain Smart's letter 
to me of 10th April, 1858 ; the arrangement is my own : 

Years ending No. of Cases 

31st Dec., respectively. of Drunkenness. 

( 1851 24,019 

Tinder the Old Law, \ 1852 23,788 

( 1853 23,841 

Sum of these 71,648 

4t Months under Old Law, and ") 1ft K, iq 404. 

7| Months under New, f 1J ' 4d * 

( 1855 16,206 

Under the New Law, \ 1856 17,446 

( 1857 20,043 

Sum of these, 53,755 

Decrease under the New Law, 17,893 

By this strictly correct view, the decrease has been 17,8 
cases out of 71,648; or taking the question of proportion, the 
number of cases was 33 per cent, greater under the old law than 
under the new. 

But, as already stated, no comparison can be perfectly jui 
which does not give effect to the enormous increase of population 
during the last six years. Giving effect to this increase, the 
case may be stated thus: The population of Glasgow 
1851, was 329,026; and the number of cases of drunkenness 
arising out of that population was 24,019. The population on 

44 Progress 0} Whisky-Drinking in Scotland. 

31st December, 1857, according to Dr Strang's official tables, 
had increased to 391,400. As a question of proportion, the 
number of cases of drunkenness arising out of this increased 
population, should have been 28,500, if no change in the law or 
habits of the people had taken place ; but the number of cases 
during the year ending 31st December, 1857, was only 20,043, 
showing a proportional decrease of 8,457 cases during that year ; 
or, in other words, the proportion of cases for a given population, 
was 40 per cent, greater under the old law in 1851, than under 
the new in 1857. 

It has frequently, and very properly, been asked, why the 
number of cases in Glasgow during 1857 has increased so much 
as compared with the number in 1856; (not as compared with 
any year wholly under the old law) and to enable me to answer 
this question correctly, I applied for information to Captain 
Smart, who, in the letter already referred to, gives the following 
very satisfactory explanation : 

6 The cause of the increase in drunkenness is simply that a 
most determined opposition was made to the Act in the latter 
end of 1856, and first half of 1857, and clubs were opened all 
over the city, and oyster stores and other places were opened for 
the sale of spirits, and kept open all night, and all Sunday, when 
the licensed dealers were shut. 

6 The whole attention of the Magistrates and police was 
directed to the places, and, after an immense labour and litiga- 
tion, (some eight or nine cases were suspended,) the law was found 
too strong for them, and they are now all but extinguished ; AND 


But, after admitting the decrease contended for, some parties 
say ' still the "Public-Houses Act" must be admitted to be a 
failure, because there remain so many cases of drunkenness 
which have not been prevented, even where it has been most 
zealously enforced.' To these objectors I would answer in the 
words of the learned Recorder of Birmingham, Mr M. D. Hill, 
in his ' suggestions for the repression of crime,' contained in his 
admirable ' charges delivered to the grand juries of Birmingham.' 
'Can any law,' asks Mr Hill, 'be specified which is never 
broken? What are our courts of justice, our assizes, our 
sessions, and our police-offices, but so many testimonies that 
laws are not expected to extinguish offences, but only to keep 
down their number by dealing in the best manner we are able 
with the offenders. If, then, laws are to be considered as useless 
because they are not unfrequently broken, our best course will 
be to put the statutes at large into the fire, turn out the lawyers, 
and apply Westminster Hall to some new purpose.' Mr Hill 

Progress o/ Whisky- Drinking in Scotland. 45 

goes on to quote Archbishop Whately in support of his views, 
thus 'It is evident/ says Archbishop Whately, 'that every 
instance of the infliction of a punishment is an instance, as far as 
it goes, of the failure of the legislator's design. No axiom in 
Euclid can be more evident than that the object of the legislator 
in enacting that murderers should be hanged, and pilferers im- 
prisoned or transported, is not to load the gallows, fill the gaol, 
and people New Holland, but to prevent the commission of 
murder and theft; and that, consequently, every man who is 
hanged, or transported, or confined, is an instance, pro tanto, of 
the inefficiency, i.e., want of complete efficacy of the law.' 
(p. 405.) 

I cannot conclude these observations without referring to the 
conduct of the Inland Revenue department. In all former times 
it was considered the special duty of that department of the public 
service, to discover and prosecute all persons who defrauded the 
revenue by selling exciseable liquors without payment of the 
license tax. Until within the last few years, this duty was so per- 
fectly performed, that cases were rarely heard of in which the 
law was not speedily vindicated, by the prosecution and conviction 
of the offenders. Of late years, however, this department of the 
public service has so neglected its duty, in this respect, that lite- 
rally hundreds of persons in our large towns have been allowed to 
defraud the revenue with impunity, without the Inland Revenue 
department appearing to take any interest in the question whether 
this portion of the public revenue was collected or not. This alle- 
gation can easily be proved by the fact that the Magistrates of the 
large towns have fined hundreds of persons for thus defrauding 
the public revenue, against whom no complaint was ever made 
by the Inland Revenue department, or by any one connected 
with it. This remissness is the more inexcusable, because, under 
the Public-Houses Act, any officer of excise, or other person, can 
prosecute without incurring the expense of employing a solicitor 
or counsel. The general belief amongst persons conversant with 
these matters in Scotland is, that, as regards offenders of this class, 
the want of all proper attention to the vindication of the law, and 
the collection of the revenue which now prevails, has had no 
parallel in Scotland during the present century. 

Having thus dealt with the returns ordered on the motion of 
Mr Murray Dunlop, it might be expected that I should analyze 
those ordered on the motion of Lord Melgund; but this has 
been so ably done in an article by the editor of the Daily Express, 
a paper which devotes much attention to the great social questions 
of the day, that I have preferred printing his article verbatim as 
an Appendix, to writing any thing of my own. 



THE returns moved for by Lord Melgund, acting as Parliamentary agent for 
the Scottish publicans, are as unfair and worthless as returns could well be. 
In the first place, they are for the complete years 1851, 1852, 1853, 1854, 
1855, and 1856. As the Public-Houses Act did not come into operation 
until the 15th of May 1854, it is impossible to institute any comparison that 
can be satisfactory between the years, without excluding 1854. In the 
next place, 1857 is not included in the return the reason being, we suppose, 
that the longer the Act has been in operation, the more markedly beneficial 
have been the results, and consequently the more unfavourable to the pub- 
licans' arguments. The return gives a statement of the number of persons 
fined for selling spirits without a license, the number of offences of that kind, 
the amount of fines exacted, and the number of persons imprisoned for such 
offences in each of the excise collections in Scotland in the years named ; 
and also a similar statement for Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Greenock, 
and Paisley. There is also a statement of the amount of fines imposed on 
licensed victuallers in each of the five towns named in the years from 1851 
to 1856 inclusive, and an account of the disposal of said fines ; with a state- 
ment of the number of persons taken in charge by the police in each year 
for each of these towns. 

We have not space to give the detailed statement of the number of persons 
convicted for the illict selling of spirits iu each excise collection for the six 
years embraced in the return ; but we give the total offences of the kind in 
each year, the amount of fines exacted, and the number of persons 
imprisoned over the whole of Scotland : 


No. of Amount of No. of Persons 

Offences. Fines Paid. Imprisoned. 

1851 174 637 

1852 99 359 13 Old 

1853 122 387 11 Law. 

1854 122 685 

1855 114 696 11) New 


1856 169 1180 7J Law. 

The publicans no doubt hoped that these returns would enable them to make 
out a case that would frighten her Majesty's revenue officers, by proving 
how immensely the offence of selling spirits without a license has increased 
under the new law. But what are the facts as proved by the above return ? 
Why, simply that such offences in 1851, before the Forbes M'Kenzie Act 
was heard of, were more numerous than in 1856, and that four times the 
number of persons were imprisoned for them ! It is abundantly evident, 
from the above table, and still more from the one that we shall give next, 
that wherever the number of convictions for illicit selling of spirits has 
increased, the increase has been entirely due to the increased activity of 
the excise, and especially of the police. The amount of fines is greater, 
simply because, under the new law, heavier fines are imposed than was 
the case under the old. The following table gives the figures for the five 
chief towns of Scotland, that are given in the previous one for the whole 
country : 

Appendix. 47 


No. of Amount of No. of Persons 

Offences. Fines Paid. Imprisoned 

1851 55 235 9^ 

1852 16 88 1 ( Old 

1853 15 67 8 f Law. 

1854 18 71 4j 

1855 37 229 7) New 

1856 63 614 6j Law. 
The above figures plainly show that, notwithstanding the praiseworthy 
activity of the police in Edinburgh and Glasgow (to which any increase 
observable is entirely due), the offences for illicit selling of spirits were 
only eight more in 1856 than in 1851, while the number of persons 
imprisoned was a third less. The publicans' case, therefore, so far as 
these returns cooked to suit their purposes can aid them, has entirely 
broken down. 

The returns of the fines inflicted on publicans ; the fines for illicit selling, 
and number of such offences ; and the number of persons taken drunk to 
the police-office in the five towns for each year, from 1851 to 1856 inclusive, 
are just as little calculated to help Lord Melgund's friends. We have 
prepared a table for each town. The following is that for Glasgow. 


Illicit Selling. 

Amount No. of Fines on No. of Drunk 

Fines. Offences. Publicans. Persons. 

1851 67 9 191 24,019 } 

1852 60 4 198 23,788 ( Old 

1853 1 1 193 23,841 f Law. 

1854 3 202 19,434 ) 

1855 114 14 836 16,266? New 

1856 338 24 625 17,466) Law. 

In Glasgow the increase of illicit selling is most marked. Yet, after all, 
what does it amount to ? With greatly increased vigilance on the part of the 
police which, indeed, will account for all the difference there were just 
fifteen cases more in 1856 than in 1851, and eleven more in 1855 
than in 1854 nearly half of which was under the Public-Houses 
Act. Compare this with a diminution of nearly a third in the number 
of public drunkards there is actually about that difference between the 
number of inebriates taken to the police-office in 1851 (24,019) and the 
number taken in 1856 (17,466) and what is it? Absolutely nothing. It 
is not to be weighed against it for a moment. It is true that the pub- 
licans have had to pay 625 of fines among them in 1856, and 836 in 1855, 
as against 191 in 1851. This may be thought a hardship ; but the remedy 
is simple. Let them be honest enough to obey the law, and they will 
the fines as completely as if no fines could be exacted. The table for Edin- 
burgh presents similar results : 


Illicit Selling. 

Amount No. of Fines en No. of Drank 

Fines. Offences. Publicans. >i>8. 

1851 121 21 89 9,491) 

1852 13 7 205 9,767 f Old 

1853 35 8 141 9,730 f Law. 

1854 14 3 67 8,749) 

1855 37 9 143 8,095) New 

1856 198 29 82 7,736) Law. 

48 Appendix. 

In Dundee, the law has evidently not been carried out so efficiently as it ought 
*: to have been, as the amount of the fines and the small number of illicit selling 
ff cases detected plainly show. Yet the results are undoubtedly favourable to the 
Act : 


Illicit Selling. 

Amount iNo. of Fines on No. of Drunk 

Fines. Offences. Publicans. Persons. 

-. i i Fines. Offences. Publicans. Jfersons 

'j 1851 25 19 11 1,064 

1852 12 4 60 1,151 I Old 

1853 31 6 14 1,238 f Law. 

1854 17 3 91 1,359 J 

1855 30 6 62 952) New 

1856 25 2 26 1,130 J Law. 

Of course, Lord Melgund's returns do not give the Sunday cases of drunken- 
ness. The publicans dare not venture upon that ground ; the compulsory Sunday 
closing, since the entire public are in a manner the police in enforcing that, has 
the most remarkable results where the law has been loosely enforced by the pro- 
per authorities. Thus in Dundee, where the totals of drunken cases for three 
years before and after the Act (according to Mr Dunlop's return) were 3666 and 
3175 respectively, or about a sixth less in the latter, the total of Sunday cases for 
the same periods were 314 and 144, showing a decrease of considerably more than 

To Greenock similar remarks, as regards the carrying out of the Act, seem to 
apply with almost equal force, though the results of the Act are still highly 
favourable : 


Illicit Selling. 


No. of 

Fines on 

No. of Druiik 













2,311 i Old 



3,556 f Law. 





3,813 J 





2,099 \ New 





1,580 J Law. 

The Paisley returns are highly favourable 

, for the law 

has evidently been en- 

forced : 


Illicit Selling 


No. of 

Fines on 

No, of Drunk 


Offences Publicans. 









760 I Old 
845 f Law. 





786 J 




477 ) New 





515 J Law. 

The production of the return of which we have thus stated and analysed the 
results, has been a most unfortunate affair for the publicans. Notwithstanding 
the scheming of these philanthropists to obtain a Parliamentary document which 
should prove, by partial figures and unfair arrangement, the sufferings of them- 
selves, the revenue, and the public through the obnoxious Public-Houses Act, 
they have egregiously failed. They have made out no case that can alarm the 
revenue officials. As regards themselves, they have merely proved what bad 
subjects they are, and how little they regard the law. While as respects the 
public, they have proved incontestably partial and tricky as the figures of their 
model return are that an immense social benefit has been conferred upon Scot- 
land by the Act against which they interestedly and wickedly declaim. We 
strongly counsel the publicans to eschew Parliamentary returns henceforth. The 
good results of the Public-Houses Act are not to be concealed or perverted into 
evil by any return, no matter how much cunning or how little principle may be 
visible in its construction. 







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